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Home » News » TV’s Robert Llewellyn is “blown away” by state-of-the-art facilities

TV’s Robert Llewellyn is “blown away” by state-of-the-art facilities

"I’m blown away" were the words of TV’s Robert Llewellyn on the set of Supercharged Cornwall, after touring new state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle Labs

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Published Thursday 20 October 2022

Supercharged Cornwall, is a new, live car show driven by the Future Skills Institute at Truro and Penwith College in association with the Hawkins Motor Group.

The recent, inaugural, free-to-attend event was hosted by TV’s Robert Llewellyn and energised Cornwall’s switch to electric vehicle technology.

The audience watches on at the first Supercharged Cornwall live show
Supercharged Cornwall was attended by hundreds of visitors and industry representatives

Hundreds of visitors and industry representatives including the AA, Snap On, the Institute of Motor Industry and Devon & Cornwall Police were in attendance, attracting coverage from a range of media including the BBC and Pirate FM.

During the live event that was also streamed online Robert commented: “It’s amazing and I’m blown away. I’ve been around so many factories and I’ve had sneak peeks in R&D departments of people who are building electric cars and I haven’t seen anything like you’ve got next door, in the factories where they make the cars! That is an amazing training facility there.”

Robert Llewellyn on a tour of the College's state-of-the-art facilities
Robert Llewellyn was ‘blown away’ as staff took him on a tour of College facilities

Supercharged Cornwall explored Cornwall’s electric vehicle (EV) revolution and the future skills needed to support a successful transition to EV technology.

The College’s £7.3million Valency building and new state-of-the-art EV Labs hosted an exhibition of emerging technologies accompanied by a giant Scalextric, live DJ, food and refreshments to keep guests entertained along with opportunities to book test drives of some of the latest EV models.

A live chat show featuring a panel of experts from Cornwall’s Electric Vehicle Manufacture, Infrastructure and Education sectors asked and provided answers to that all important question: ‘Will Cornwall be ready for the electric vehicle revolution in 2030?’

Devon and Cornwall Police exhibited its latest vehicles

Actor, presenter, comedian and writer, Robert Llewellyn, best known for his roles as Kryten in TV sit-com Red Dwarf, presenter of Engineering gameshow Scrapheap Challenge and more recently the Fully Charged Show, encouraged audience participation while drawing on the expert knowledge of the panel.

The event formed part of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce’s Planet C month, pulling together a series of events that focus on climate and social action in partnership with Green Works and sponsored by Don’t Cry Wolf.

Supercharged Cornwall is the College’s latest innovation in the Electric Vehicle sector having led a pioneering £2.4 million Green Skills project in 2021, funded by the Department for Education’s Strategic Development Fund as part of its Skills Accelerator Programme and delivered in partnership with the Cornwall College Group.

The College's Automotive Sustainability Champion 'The Twig'
The College’s Automotive Sustainability Champion ‘The Twig’ was in attendance

The project has supported multi-million-pound investments at both Truro and Penwith Colleges to build state-of-the-art Electric Vehicle Labs, invest in a fleet of e-vehicles, training aids and develop curriculum for the electric vehicle and emerging green technology industries to benefit Cornwall’s businesses and future workforce.

Martin Tucker, Principal at Truro and Penwith College, said: “The College is extremely pleased with the response to Supercharged Cornwall, to support Cornwall Chamber of Commerce’s Planet C initiative and is very excited for the future innovation of the College, it’s facilities and learning experiences for our learners and business partners.

“The Supercharged Cornwall event achieved everything we hoped it would, showcasing Cornwall’s electric vehicle revolution, drawing on the expertise of our partners in electric vehicle manufacture and infrastructure to explore the work that needs to be addressed ahead of 2030 and how the College’s Future Skills Institute is spearheading the evolution of skills training for the benefit of Cornwall, local people and the future of our economy. We hope a bigger and better event will return next year”.

College Principal Martin Tucker on stage during the live show
Martin Tucker, Truro and Penwith College Principal, welcomed guests to the event

TV host Robert Llewellyn said: “Thank you to the team at Truro and Penwith College’s Future Skills Institute for inviting me to host Supercharged Cornwall. We have been delving into all things EV on the Fully Charged Show and this event provided a perfect opportunity to focus on the challenges and opportunities in Cornwall’s rural community”.

James Hawkins, Director at Hawkins Motor Group which supported the event, added: “We are delighted to assist both the College and the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce in raising awareness, educating and promoting electric vehicles. Since 2012 we have been leading the way in Cornwall with electrification and offer the widest range of electric models in the county. We displayed the latest key models from Peugeot, Citroen, Kia, Hyundai, MG and Nissan and our team were on hand to answer any questions and book test drives after the event for those interested in experiencing our fantastic range of an electric vehicles.”

A panel of experts discuss whether Cornwall will be ready for the electric vehicle revolution by 2030
Bradley Harris from Hawkins Motor Group (left), takes his place on the panel

John Brown, Founder at Don’t Cry Wolf which is sponsoring Cornwall Chamber of Commerce’s Planet C month said: “Supercharged Cornwall is such an important event. Not just because it offered the public a chance to get behind the wheel of a few incredible machines, it also gives people a glimpse into what a regenerative world looks like and shines a light on the incredible facilities at Truro and Penwith College available to those looking to embark on a career in the EV world. It’s a moment for employers and potential students to be inspired, excited and ultimately take steps to building a new electrified economy.”

The College also collected donations and held a raffle in aid of the Ben automotive charity that provides benevolent support to current or past employees of the automotive industry; www.ben.org.uk.

Employers from the sector wishing to work with the College should contact its Future Skills Institute Team on 01872 308000 or futureskills@truro-penwith.ac.uk.

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